WELLS, H.G. (author). Tono Bungay.

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WELLS, H.G. (author). Tono Bungay. London; Macmillan And Co, Limited. 1909.

Thick 8vo. Original sage green cloth prettily blocked in blind to upper board surrounding lettering panel in gilt, spine decoratively gilt, top edges gilt; pp. [vi], 3-493 + [8], publisher's list dated 1.09; spine faded and rubbed and bruise to bottom forecorner of lower cover but otherwise very good and clean, internally fresh and crisp throughout with slight speckling to edges of book block but none of the frequently found internal spotting.
First edition in book form, first issue, indicated by ads.; originally published in serial form in The Popular Magazine (1908) in the United States and in The English Review (also 1908).
This novel, sometimes regarded as Wells' most artistic endeavour, received a mixed reception on publication, with the Daily Telegraph summarising it as "a masterpiece", but other critics less impressed. Wells himself referred to it as "the finest and most finished novel upon the accepted lines …. that he had written or was ever likely to write". It is an adventure novel embracing modern technologies. The main protagonist George Ponderevo is involved in a business developing a patent medicine ("Tono-Bungay" of the title) created by his uncle, which he regards as "a damned swindle". When his relation's business empire collapses George tries to steal a radioactive compound, "quap", from West Africa to rebalance he books and then absconds with him from England in an experimental aircraft that he himself built, but tragedy ensues.